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Posted December 12, 2018 | 8:26 AM

Pirates, Shmirates! Are You Ready to Go Hiking with a Viking?

Hillsborough County, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2018) - Colorfully dressed robbers with parrots on their shoulders descend on Hillsborough County every year, but Gasparilla isn't the only entertainment option featuring invaders from the sea.

Hillsborough County's Hiking with a Viking features park rangers and members from a volunteer historical re-enactment group focusing on the Viking era. Together, the rangers and costumed marauders lead hikers through Edward Medard Conservation Park's Singing Bluffs Trail. On the journey, the Viking guides teach hikers about their lifestyle, skills and crafts, weapons and combat, and their appreciation and dependence on nature.

The inaugural event on Dec. 1 reached capacity almost as soon as it was announced, prompting Hillsborough County to add four more dates: Jan. 26 and 27, and Feb. 9 and 10, all at Medard Park, 6140 Turkey Creek Road in Plant City. Each event begins at 9 a.m.

Hiking with a Viking is held in conjunction with Hillsborough County's Hiking Spree. The Hiking Spree encourages people to exercise, explore the outdoors, and experience nature through the County's parks and preserves. This year's trail list features 25 trails at 19 locations throughout the county. Complete at least eight before March 31, 2019 and earn a patch or medallion.

Registration is required for Hiking with a Viking, and entry is limited to those who have registered for the Hiking Spree. To register for Hiking with a Viking, click here. To register for the Hiking Spree, click here.

Links: Photos, video from first Hiking with a Viking event on Dec. 1.

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